Greens are either easy or very difficult to freeze, and there is no in-between. Even when you freeze greens at the peak of freshness, there is always the possibility that some will wilt or brown once you thaw and cook them.
Unless you grow Swiss chard yourself, and you live somewhere where overwintering this delicate plant is possible, the only time to really maximize its quality is during the summer months.
But can you freeze it, and save it at its peak freshness for later?
The Shelf Life Of Swiss Chard: Should You Freeze It?
Provided that you keep Swiss chard in the fridge, it will last a maximum of 3 days before it goes bad.
Luckily, you can freeze Swiss chard without any problems, as long as you prepare it properly.
When frozen, Swiss chard can last anywhere between 6 and 12 months, depending on how fresh it was to begin with. This significantly lengthens the shelf life of this nutritious green, allowing you to save it for a later date and avoid food waste.
While Swiss chard can last this long in the freezer, aim to use it as soon as possible, as this will help preserve the texture.
There are two ways to freeze Swiss chard (see also Can You Freeze Broccoli), but first you need to prepare it for freezing.
The Different Ways Of Freezing Swiss Chard
To prepare Swiss chard for the freezing process correctly, the first and easiest step is to be picky about the chard you choose, whether that’s in your local grocer, or in your garden.
Pick the best chard you can. This means the leaves which are the brightest, with no holes, or discoloration. This step goes a long way in ensuring that the quality of your defrosted chard is the best it can be.
Wash the Swiss chard under cool water, making sure to get rid of any dirt, debris, or pests. Pat dry with some kitchen towel, and cut off the base of the stem.
Freeze the base and stem separately, as this gives better results. Cut the chard to a desired size.
How To Blanch Swiss Chard
Put the Swiss chard pieces into a colander, while you bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil.
Grab a large bowl and fill it full of water and ice. Submerge the colander into the saucepan, and leave the chard for about 30 seconds, until the greens turn a brighter green.
Resist the temptation to cook the chard, you only want to be able to blanch it, otherwise the chard will lose all of its texture when you come to defrost it.
Quickly take the colander from the saucepan, and transfer it straight into the ice bath. This will stop the chard from cooking all the way through.
Drain the greens, and pat them dry with kitchen towels, making sure that the greens are as dry as possible.
Grab two freezer bags, one for the stems, and one for the leaves. Decant them into the freezer bags, making sure to get rid of as much air as possible as you seal them. Label the bags, and store them flat in the freezer.
How To Flash Freeze Swiss Chard
The first thing you need to do is to prepare an ice bath.
Hold off on adding the greens until the ice brings the temperature down, and then submerge the chard into the water for about 15 minutes. The longer you can leave it, the better.
While you wait, line a baking tray with wax paper. Take the chard out of the water and dry with paper towels. Separate the stems and the leaves, and lay the greens flat on the tray in a single layer.
Put the tray into the freezer, and wait at least an hour before taking them out.
Get two freezer bags, and label them. Like in the above method, you want to pack the leaves and the stems separately.
Remove the tray from the freezer, and decant the chard into the two bags, one exclusively for the stems, and one for the leaves. Seal the bags, making sure there’s as little air in there as possible, and freeze them.
How To Thaw Frozen Swiss Chard And Reheat It
Thawing Swiss chard is easy, you just need to plan ahead. Take the greens out of the freezer the night before, and transfer them into the fridge.
If you’re planning on using the Swiss chard in stir-fry, stews, or other cooked dishes, you can skip the defrosting step, and throw them straight into the cooking dish.
Just allow an extra minute or two to get rid of any excess moisture.
As long as you prepare Swiss chard properly for the freezer using one of the above methods, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t freeze it, saving it for a later date, and preventing food waste.